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CHAP.

202                 HISTORY OF PERSIA
w;hjch has already been mentioned, won imperishable fame
by^resisting all attempts at assault after a surprise had
failed.1: '.Tamerlane invested the Nafta darland* in person,
his Aniirs attacking the other entrances. Some Badakshani
hillrpjeif found a way up the cliffs and negotiations for
sui'rjerider were opened up, but while they were in progress
the astute defender broke down this track. Fourteen
assaults were delivered, but without result, and the great
Tamerlane had to admit defeat. However, he left a
force to blockade the fortress, and in the end it was
surrendered owing to an outbreak of plague.
The city of Turshiz, the site of which 1 have ex-
amined,3 was taken by force of arms. It was believed
to be impregnable owing to its deep ditch and high walls;
but the water was drawn off by well-diggers, a mine was
run under the walls, and it had to surrender* The
garrison was spared and re-enlisted under Tamerlane to
serve in Turkestan.
The Sistan Campaign^ A.H. 785 (1383).—The slow
progress made by Tamerlane at this period, as compared
with the ease with which the Mongols overran Persia,
deserves attention. Herat had indeed submitted, but the
resistance of Kalat-i-Nadiri and of other strongholds must
have strained the resources of the Conqueror. Jatah,
moreover, needed watching, and consequently it was not
until the fourth year after the campaign began that
Tamerlane was able to invade Sistan. Marching through
Herat and Afghan Sabzawar, his cavalry devastated the
whole district; Zirreh (which is probably the ancient
Zaranj and the modern Nad All) was breached and
stormed without resort to siege operations. Tamerlane
now advanced on the city of Sistan, and made a personal
reconnaissance. To quote from the Zafar Nama : <c I
made towards a gate, and when only a short distance away
I ascended a mound which is called Kutluk, and halted
upon the summit. As a precautionary measure I placed
2000 men-at-arms, in complete armour, in an ambush.
When the people of the country saw me come to a stand
1 Vide "A Fifth Journey in Persia," Journal R.G.S. for December 1906.
2 A darband is a defile which forms the natural entrance.
8 Journal R.G.S. for February 19x1.